I have been a grandfather’s boy all my life. Daddy, as I fondly call him, has been my biggest inspiration to become a well-read person. Thanks to him, I have learned to see books as the drivers of individual growth.

For Daddy, reading has always been a solace. Back in the day, I would make it impossible for him to have a quiet read, doing everything it took to grab his attention. I had lots of toys to play with in my playroom and a television to watch cartoons on, but nothing could beat the joy of annoying Daddy. I would almost always end up with Daddy in his study, surrounded by all those book-crammed shelves.

On one such day, when I had too much energy and too few things to burn it on, I drew a book out of one of the shelves and sat down to read it. It was Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles. Now, I must say, the book was rather heavy, both literally and figuratively, for a ten-year-old boy. This made me feel all the more proud when, a month later, I was done reading it. It felt like I was following in my grandpa’s footsteps, and honestly, that felt great.

There was no looking back for Siddharth Prakash once he managed to read his first book - an arduous, month-long read

I started reading other books from his shelf, more out of the desire to impress him than any real interest in reading. I wanted him to think that I was just like him, and for others to think of me as someone smart. Grandpa and I would often sit together to discuss the stories that we both read. It was then that I realized that each story dealt with a different subject; each story came with different characters. I felt that books offered more scope for freedom and creativity than, say, movies. Interestingly, the more I read, the more I understood why Daddy was such a big fan of fiction.

You see, not everyone can be a musafir, or a traveler. Sometimes all one needs to do is grab a book and let it transport them to new, unexpected realms.


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